5 Pointz is gone, but Save the Walls lives on in plastic

In response to the LIC graffiti spot's closure, two students are creating legal, short-term artists' canvases out of plastic wrap

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  • Photograph courtesy Save the Walls

  • Photograph courtesy Save the Walls

  • Photograph courtesy Save the Walls

  • Photograph courtesy Save the Walls

  • Photograph courtesy Save the Walls

Photograph courtesy Save the Walls

If you build it—it being a makeshift wall out of plastic wrap—the street artists will come. That’s what advertising students Jeff Tepper and Phil Pagliaro are counting on with Save the Walls, a reaction to the surprise whitewashing of graffiti institution 5 Pointz in November. "Street art is dying out in the city where it was essentially birthed," says Tepper. He and Pagliaro are instigating a rebirth: They stretch layers of Saran wrap between stop signs and subway entrance poles to give artists an instant medium that’s as much a guerrilla installation as a protest.


The first ephemeral canvas went up on Bedford Avenue on May 7, with Bed-Stuy artist Fridge One spray-painting an impromptu mural, and a few other stagings happened in Dumbo this month. The crew is (understandably) wary of police ire, so they don’t get too attached to any one piece, instead reveling in the process. "You have to be okay with it being temporary," says Tepper. "Three days in jail and I’d have to drop out of school and move in with my parents."


The ultimate goal is to spread the #savethewalls hashtag, to raise awareness for an essential New York art form, and perhaps one day reinstate a brick-and-mortar canvas for the city’s taggers—one that can’t be rolled into a ball and thrown away.



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